#23 Favignana – Departure

As it already happened with the islands that frightened me the most by size or tourist influx (Capri, Lipari, Elba), even Favignana had great surprises in store.

The Gulliver sailing school, to start with, is a sailing school which, throughout the year, receives more than half of the children of the island, teaching them not only to sail (up to a national competion level), but also the rules of management and cohabitation within a structure that needs everyone’s help to exist. The legendary Peppone has been superbly directing it for over 20 years now. There are only a very few tourists’ children, those who spend all summer here; apart from them, Gulliver lives oblivious to the summer mass invasion.

This invasion, on an island close to the mainland and all in all quite cheap, attracts a lot of money. And the money attracts many interests. So it happens that the authentic heart of Favignana, the Borgo Marinaro of Punta Lunga, a true Mediterranean jewel, has for some years been in danger for the concessions requested by various foreign speculators who would throw away the fishermen from the village to fill it with yet other rubber dinghies meant to be rented to tourists during a couple of months a year. But Favignana resists, forming an association led by the smiling Norman Giuseppe Campo.

So it happens that the presence of Mafia here is strong and established. But Favignana resists. The association Casa Macondo has been entrusted with a house confiscated from Mafia, for example, where children, throughout the winter, have a safe and cultural meeting place that takes them off the road. Thank you so much to Barbara and Michele for having patiently explained all this to us, and above all for, without earning a penny, keeping this reality alive.

Then the wisdom of Maria Guccione, from the height of her 80 years but much younger than many, who told us about her fights in the past and, with eyes still almost injected with the blood of passion, explained how them fights should still be carried out: with passion, of course, but also with technical knowledge and actions from the base, politically. Writing a post on Facebook, the modern version of the concept of “fight”, serves almost only to unload personal anger. Fighting is another story …

And finally, the sympathy and obstinacy, also very Mediterranean, of Paolo Balistreri, a marine biologist who tries and tries to work on his island, where with one of the largest Marine Protected Areas of the Mediterranean it would be natural to find a job. Especially when you’re really good at what you do. I wish you with all my heart to make it, Paolo.

And finally finally, in Favignana there is the most beautiful “arena”, the outdoor summer cinema, ever in a fantastic former tuff quarry / hypogeum garden!

I forgot the fantastic hospitality of an atypical, fun, professional, absolutely authentic diving center, the one owned by Vincenzo and Ciccio, Egadi Scuba Diving. A big thank you too.

But now, after too much waiting, the new tracker has arrived and it will send my position in real time again. I can safely sail again! To us two, Sicily Channel: Pantelleria, I’m coming!

 


Posted on: 9.Jul.2018   Leave a comment

#21 Marettimo – Departure

Marettimo is a place of disarming beauty. If it is true that all the islands are beautiful places, without exception, Marettimo is probably more beautiful than many others – because it is remote at the right point, because its morphology is impressive and wild, because the small village is cute and because underwater it hides real marvels.

It is an island of seamen (which is rare, given that most islands had a predominantly agricultural economy), and this can be felt immediately. Its people are used to emigrate and to greet in return. They are passionate and smiling, open. I met nice guys like Francesco, willing to share his wonders beyond a mere tourist logic, spontaneously and professionally. It is a pity that from next year even primary school will not reopen …

I interviewed Vito Vaccaro, historical memory of the island’s identity from which we should start seeking an idea of future. He told us, for example, the story of the salmon fishermen, who still today go to, and come back from, Alaska to fish for one or two months every year.

Then Leonardo, the beekeeper of Isola Del Miele (the Bee’s Island), who produces here tons (it is not a joke) of honey – he has even won several national prizes. He told us that here there is no mortality of bees issue, because there is no agriculture that pollutes the air with pesticides that damage the insects.

And finally my friends from Blu Tek Diving – MarettimoDavide and Diletta, who out of love for Marettimo and its sea bought a diving center a few years ago and even got married here. After some dives, for the first time the absolute primacy that the sea of Ustica has in my diving experience started to tremble. A very special thanks to you, guys.

The bow is pointed to Levanzo, now, just 12 km away while the Scirocco blows …

(The picture is by Ferdinando Meli, whom I thank a lot. That guy is me next to a wonderful colony of Leptogorgia sarmentosa.)

 


Posted on: 2.Jul.2018   Leave a comment